Update 10am: Lendlease’s Google HQ job reopens

Major contractors and housebuilders have reopened sites that were shut following the prime minister’s decision to put the country into lockdown.

With all the major housebuilders having announced plans to resart work on their sites firms including Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon have also revealed when they want to reopen their sales offices.

Last month Multiplex reopened a number of its sites after suspending all construction activity for two weeks.

The firm, which was the first major contractor to shut down sites voluntarily, have said eight of its sites would be reopened

Mace, Bam and Wates have also restarted work at some of their sites.

This table will be updated as more firms announce their plans. 

OrganisationStatus of sites


UPDATE: Building understands that around 20 sites reopened this week but the workforce will be significantly reduced with just 400 people working across all reopened jobs. The firm’s 90 active sites in the UK were closed from 24/03 while new safety procedures are being discussed.

A spokesperson for Mace said: ”It has become clear that we are unable to comply with Public Health England recommendations on social distancing of our workforce and we therefore have made the difficult decision today to temporarily suspend all of Mace’s site operations – with the exception of safety critical work – for at least the next 48 hours from 5pm this evening.”


UPDATE (01/05): The country’s biggest housebuilder began reopening sites on 11 May initially to begin implementing the changes to working practices before starting a phased return to construction, with 180 remobilised sites planned for the first phase.

UPDATE (29/04): Announcing the firm had secured a place on the government’s state-backed coronavirus loans scheme, the Barratt said only that it was working to re-open “when it is safe and appropriate to do so”.

A spokesperson for Barratt Developments said: “The health and safety of customers and employees is our number one priority and yesterday we took the decision to temporarily close our 400 offices and sites across the country. We are in the process of doing this safely and securely as quickly as possible.”


UPDATE (16/04): Multiplex has said eight of its sites including the 22 Bishopsgate tower in the City of London will have reopened by next week – but all with a vastly reduced workforce in place. 

In an email seen by Building that was sent to the firm’s 900 staff on 23 March Multiplex’s chief operating officer Callum Tuckett said: “In response to the prime minister’s public address earlier tonight, we have no reasonable option but to close down all construction sites immediately and until further notice.”


Kier told staff to return to sites on Thursday 26 March despite an increasing number of contractors deciding to suspend works because of concerns about the coronavirus outbreak. Their sites were shut the previous day.


ISG said it will suspend activity across sites which cannot meet an “enhanced risk profile test”, which includes the ability to operate a number of sittings in canteens, issues around hoists and site accessibility for workers who would normally use public transport. It has not yet been confirmed how many sites are expected to shut but ISG said had begun letting clients know of its decision.

Laing O’Rourke

UPDATE (29/04): Laing O’Rourke has restarted work on Derwent’s mixed-use scheme above Tottenham Court Road station.

Did not close most sites.

Willmott Dixon

A spokesperson for Willmott Dixon said: “As long as the site can adhere to the CLC guidance over 2m distancing, we remain open but monitoring on a daily basis. Local teams are empowered to stop if they cannot meet the 2m rule, but if they can they are open.”

Taylor Wimpey

UPDATE (14/05): Taylor Wimpey is set to reopen show homes and sales centres from 22 May

UPDATE (23/04): Taylor Wimpey will begin reopening mothballed sites in early May, six weeks after shutting them down following the prime minister’s decision to put the country into lockdown.

In an update to the City on 24 March, Taylor Wimpey said it would shut down all its sites by the end of the day.

Galliard Homes 

Galliard Homes said it was closing down sites across London with immediate effect. “It will remove 2,500 Galliard construction workers from the London transport network,” the firm said.


UPDATE (27/04): Redrow is reopening mothballed sites in two weeks’ time as more housebuilders gear up for a return to work.

UPDATE (27/03): Redrow has now confirmed it is closing all of its sites and “furloughing” a significant portion of its staff.

UPDATE (26/03): Redrow is now closing “most” of its sites, according to a spokesperson. In a statement, Redrow said: “We’re in the process of temporarily suspending some of our construction sites. A number remain open to ensure that those customers about to move into their new property aren’t left without access to a home and the capability to isolate effectively.”

Redrow said it was keeping sites open
for now, with workers adhering to social distancing. In a trading update to the City which did not refer to the prime minister’s announcement Monday night of further substantial restrictions on movement, the housebuilder said it was also implementing “additional hygiene facilities”.


All sites to shut as soon as it is safe to do so. Chief executive Mark Wild said: “While we are doing everything we safely can to keep the Crossrail programme on track, COVID-19 will have an impact – it’s too early to tell what that impact will be.”


UPDATE (09/06): Work on a number of Transport for London construction projects has resumed with more restarting in the coming weeks as lockdown eases. During the next few weeks, site preparation to accommodate social distancing and construction work will safely begin in a phased way on a number of projects vital to supporting jobs and homes, or providing essential transport infrastructure, across the capital. These include major capacity improvements and extensions for Tube and rail, such as Laing O’Rourke’s Northern Line extension to Battersea, Dragados’ Bank Station capacity upgrade and Morgan Sindall and VolkerFitzpatrick’s extension of London Overground to the new housing development at Barking Riverside.

All sites to shut as soon as it is safe to do so. TfL commissioner Mike Brown said: “TfL will be bringing all project sites to a temporary safe stop unless they need to continue for operational safety reasons. This means that work on all such projects will be temporarily suspended as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Speller Metcalfe

Speller Metcalfe said it has made the decision to temporarily close the vast majority of its construction sites. The only sites which will remain open are those where we are delivering critical works is for the NHS.


Sites remain open today but Interserve is “reviewing the situation constantly.” A spokesperson said: “Safety procedures have been in place for weeks but are updated every day.”


The steel construction firm is closing its manufacturing facility in Christchurch, Dorset, and all of its construction sites until further notice. Managing director Simon Boyd said: “I appreciate that the government has many difficult choices to make. However it does appear that it is behind the curve. I would encourage ministers to go even further with stronger measures to restrict movement and halt the spread of this virus.”

Crest Nicholson

UPDATE (13/05): The housebuilder has announced plans to begin reopening its sites from 18 May. The sites will be reopened in stages.

Crest Nicholson has announced plans to close all sites and offices. 


Construction operations on Hill sites will cease by close of business on 27 March. Hill said: “We have been planning for this over recent weeks, and so have a clear plan for doing so. It is important that we continue until Friday so that we can ensure an orderly and well managed close down.” Where Hill has homes that are very close to being ready for completion, it will try to complete them if practically possible.


Durkan has said it will begin a phased reopening of its sites from 11 May.

Group chief executive at Durkan, Ronan Murphy, said: “Following the prime minister’s statement, the board of directors have decided to temporarily close all Durkan construction sites and sales offices with effect from 24 March at 5pm, until further notice.”


Careys confirmed all of its sites will close within the next three days. In a statement, the contractor said: “We are working with our partners in the industry to safely close our site operations over the next 72 hours. This is the right and responsible action to take and we see it as our civic duty to take this action now. While we conduct this exercise our skeleton staff will abide by safe social distancing.”


UPDATE (07/05): A spokesperson for L&Q said its decision to close its construction sites was “being reviewed in line with government advice”. The spokesperson said it was “investigating the possibility of resuming works on some sites where social distancing is easier to achieve at the end of the latest lockdown period”

L&Q has confirmed that it will shut down its London construction sites for at least three weeks as efforts to clamp down on the spread of coronavirus ramp up. The firm said it had found that social distancing on construction sites was extremely difficult to achieve and that in London the firm’s construction workers were heavy users of the public transport network. 


UPDATE (12/06): Lendlease’s £1bn flagship Google headquarters site in King’s Cross has finally reopened


UPDATE (23/04): Lendlease has said that limited work at a number of its schemes has restarted.

A spokesperson for Lendlease said: “Our regional leadership team have decided that operational work on our projects in the UK will remain on pause for the near term, so that we can continue to establish whether work is able to take place safely on those sites in line with Government guidance on social distancing.

“Where practical we will restart work as soon as possible but our priority remains being able to operate safely at those projects. And we will continue to liaise with government, industry bodies and other stakeholders about how we can do so.”


UPDATE (14/05): Persimmon has confirmed plans to start reopening its sales offices from 15 May.

UPDATE 24/04: Persimmon said it would begin a phased reopening from 27 April. Chief executive David Jenkinson said the firm had spent the past month developing and testing new site protocols that incorporate the necessary social distancing and protective measures. He warned: “These new measures will be strictly enforced by a specialist team, with any individual failing to uphold standards being subject to disciplinary action and removal from site.”

In an announcement to the City Persimmon said: “All Persimmon regional offices will also close, with only a skeleton staff to facilitate the wider workforce working from home. Construction sites are commencing an orderly shutdown with only essential work taking place which will be focused on making partly built homes safe and secure and where failure to complete the build could put customers in a vulnerable position.”

McCarthy & Stone

UPDATE (03/06): The company has started phased remobilisation plans saying sales and build activity will restart 8 June

Retirement specialist McCarthy & Stone has said work will stop on nearly all of its sites. It said: “All build activity is being safely paused across our entire development programme with the exception of certain specific sites which are close to completion.” The firm also announced that more than 300 newly completed apartments in unoccupied developments had been offered to help the government and local authority care providers to address the acute shortage of beds for older people during this period.


UPDATE (30/04): In an update to the City, Bellway said it would start resuming work from 4 May. Bellway said sites would be opened on a phased basis.

On 24 March Jason Honeyman, chief executive of Bellway, said: “We closed all of our newer developments last week and have started the process of closing our remaining sites. We expect that this will happen by lunchtime on Friday.”


UPDATE (03/06): Whitbread, the owner of the Premier Inn and hub by Premier Inn hotel brands, is reopening 35 construction sites in England and Wales. The sites under construction include newbuild hotels led by Whitbread’s in-house construction team or by external development partners, as well as extensions to existing Premier Inn hotels. Whitbread is also preparing to resume work at its four construction sites in Scotland, including sites in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Thurso in the Scottish Highland, by the end of the month.

Morgan Sindall

UPDATE (07/05): In an update to the City, Morgan Sindall confirmed 80% of its construction sites, 75% of its infrastructure sites and 70% of fit-out projects are currently operational. It confirmed its regeneration projects had been delayed, while housing sites were beginning to reopen.

Morgan Sindall said certain construction sites had already closed under instruction from the relevant clients and this is expected to increase across a number of divisions and activities. In addition, activity on other sites and projects is slowing and progress with some development schemes in the regeneration activities is becoming more uncertain. 


Wates decided to pause activity on all construction, engineering, fit-out, housebuilding and planned maintenance projects for 48 hours from the close of business on 24 March. Projects where Wates has been able to re-plan its activities, so it complies with the site operating procedures in full reopened on Friday 27 March or on Monday 30 March. All other sites and projects will remain closed. Wates suspended work for 24 hours at Sandwell Aquatics Centre, which will be used for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022, to double check that the necessary measures are in place to enable staff to continue to work safely. Work restarted on Thursday 26 March.


UPDATE (07/05): Countryside has announced plans to reopen four out of five of its construction sites from 11 May.

In an announcement to the City on Wednesday morning Countryside said: ”Having considered the Government’s latest advice, the Group has decided to close and suspend all construction works on its sites. Sales offices have also been closed.” The firm has also withdrawn financial guidance for the current financial year and is suspending dividend payments until further notice.

Sir Robert McAlpine

UPDATE (22/04): Sir Robert McAlpine has begun reopening some sites that were shut following the prime minister’s decision to put the country into lockdown more than four weeks ago. 

Paul Hamer, chief executive of Sir Robert McAlpine, said: “As of today, Wednesday 25 March 2020, most of our sites will be closed to all but essential safety and security employees.” The only McAlpine sites that remain operational are those where it is safe to do so and where critical work, such as building hospitals continues, or where the firm is putting safe shutdown plans into operation.


A spokesperson for Berkeley Group said: “The government has confirmed that homebuilding sites can continue to operate while implementing social distancing guidance. Berkeley sites have introduced stringent distancing and hygiene measures to minimise contact, reduce risks and keep everyone safe.”


UPDATE (23/04): Listed housebuilder Vistry will restart work on most of its housing sites from 27 April.

The firm has commenced the process of closing its construction sites, ensuring sites are safe and secure. The handover of completed units scheduled for the next two weeks will continue where customers would like to move in, and we will follow strict health and safety protocols. Most office staff are in a position to work from home.


Skanska has said that all of its London sites where it is the main contractor will close since it does ”not believe that workers can travel safely on public transport at present and observe social distancing.” The contractor’s major London projects include 80 Fenchurch and Ropemaker, both in the City of London. It added: “The exceptions are those sites deemed to be essential work, and as long as they meet Skanska’s stringent safety requirements, as well as those outlined in the Construction Leadership Council’s recently published Site Operating Procedures. Other Skanska work sites will continue to operate if they are able to comply with these requirements, including not travelling on public transport.”


Following extensive checks and agreements with its project teams, clients and supply chain, Bam restarted work on 30 March at a number of sites across the UK including existing projects critical to the national covid-19 effort. Bam is also starting work on new projects to build emergency covid-19 wards.

Bam said: ”We will keep the working arrangements under constant review. The closed sites are predominantly in Scotland, London and the Midlands and we continue to work on how these can be safely re-opened at a future date.”


Bouygues has shut its sites except for those jobs which are providing healthcare facilities and are able to continue these safely and protect the welfare of the staff, supply chain and client stakeholders involved.

The firm said: ”Bouygues UK has taken the decision to close its construction sites to ensure the health and safety of our staff, supply chain and the communities in which we operate. We have agreed this decision with our clients and our operational teams across the UK have worked hard to shut down our sites safely and securely.The requirement that sites should maintain social distancing and avoid public transport is not achievable and this, alongside the shortage of PPE and sanitising products makes it the only safe decision.”

Balfour Beatty

In a statement, Balfor Beatty said: ”The health, safety and wellbeing of all those who work with and for us, as well as the general public, is always our priority. In line with the current guidance on COVID-19 from the UK Government, our sites and contracts will remain operational where we are able to appropriately implement the standard operating procedure issued on 24 March 2020 by the Construction Leadership Council, and endorsed by Public Health England, to ensure the continued health, safety and wellbeing of all those who work with and for us.”

McAleer & Rushe

The contractor has closed its sites. A spokesperson said: “We believe that the only way we can comply with the guidance from the Government and Public Health England was to temporarily suspend work on our sites. We arrived at that decision reluctantly: but we feel it is the right to do. We continue to monitor this position and will seek to reopen our projects on an individual basis as soon as it is safe to do so. We will do this in close collaboration with our staff, clients and supply chain.”


A Costain spokesperson said, “This is a fast moving situation and our priority is to ensure we adhere to government guidelines and do the right thing by society, our people and our clients. We are currently urgently reviewing all aspects of our operations in consultation with our clients to establish what work can continue and what actions we will need to take if we cannot continue to work. We hope you will understand that we are not able to share details about individual contracts at this time.”

Canary Wharf Group

A statement from Canary Wharf Group said: ”In light of the latest government advice our construction sites remain open. We have implemented enhanced measures on our construction sites such as additional access points, deployed detailed measures to give practical effect to social distancing advice and to control the spread of infection, and mitigate the risk to anyone who works on them. We have also required that every trade contractor assess their activities and remind their workforce to enact social distancing, stagger/rotate shift patterns and maintain a high level of hygiene by washing hands regularly and using the available hand sanitizers. We have also significantly reduced the number of people on site.”

Last updated: 10am, 12/06